Hey Mr. Shuel, I'm kind of confused here, Mrs. Sephton says: We should take the Bible literally, not every thing is symbolic. Yet you are contradicting that. Respectfully I reply saying that some were symbolism and some were Literarly, as we see that the Protestant Church thinks the Last Supper was symbolic and the Holy Eucharist reffered to the Word of God. Yet later in the New Testament St. Paul the Apostle talks about the Holy Eucharist or the "Breaking of Bread":
1 Corinthians 10
16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
As for faith and deeds, from my opinion the faith is like the longer stick in the cross yet the deeds are the shorter one. In the New Testament it says:
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
May the blessings of both Apostles be with us all. Amen.
In Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom the the glory is due forever and ever and unto the age of all ages. Amen.
A believer and a bondservant.
>From: "Derek Shuel" <email@example.com> >To: "Michael Henain" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >CC: "Derek Shuel" <email@example.com> >Subject: RE: >Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 10:53:06 -0500 > >Hi Michael, my responses are in blue and bold! > > >Hi Mr. Shuel, I just thought you would be intrested in reading this, it's by H.H. Pope Shenoda III, Pope of the Ethiopian and Coptic Church and the succesor of St. Mark the Apostle and Evangelist may his blessings be with us all and may the mercy and wisdom of our God join us as we seek the truth. Amen. Enjoy.. By the way do you have msn so we could chat about this during the summer?? Paedobaptism (Infant Baptism) Our Protestant brethren do not baptise little children, insisting on the necessity of belief before baptism and depending on the Lord's saying: "He who believes and is baptised will be saved" (Mark. 16:16) and also on the fact that little children do not comprehend what is happening in baptism. THIS IS TRUE! So how can baptism be administered without belief or without comprehension? But we insist on paedobaptism for the following reasons: (1) We are concerned about the eternal life of children because the Lord says: "...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John.3: 5). This is symbolism, meaning that you must be born again. If you take this literally, then no one could enter heaven, because Jesus said in order to enter heaven, you must be BORN AGAIN, which is physically impossible. > So how can we prevent children from being baptised and expose them to God's Judgement as long as the Lord did not exempt children when He said the above words? Again, we must decipher between a literal interpretation and a symbolic one. It is VERY dangerous to interpret the ALL the Bible as literal. >(2) Through baptism, little children are given the opportunity to practise the life of the Church and enjoy the divine Sacraments therein together with all their efficacious. They can also enjoy all the means of Grace in the Church and their effects on their lives. In this way, we practically prepare the infants for the life of faith. If we excluded them from the Church we would be depriving them of faith and of the means of Grace. 33 >What this is saying then, the if they are NOT part of the Church, then they have no hope of being saved. This is pure Catholocism at it's finest! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (3) The Lord's saying: "He who believes and is baptised will be saved" is meant for adults who are capable of comprehending the meanings of faith. That is why we cannot baptise adults unless they believe, according to the Lord's words in (Mark.16: 16). As for infants, we apply the Lord's saying: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19: 14). Again, Christ is using SYMBOLISM to let his followers know what kind of people are fit for the Kingdom of God. Jesus also goes on to say the first will be last and the last first (symbolism) and you must have childlike faith. I think Matt. 19:14 is being taken way out of context in order to fit with this line of thinking, which is very scary! > (4) From the point of view of faith, little children are in the stage of believing and accepting everything; they do not refuse or reject faith; (This comment has no grounding. How can one assume this?) the doubt, inquiring, questioning and reasoning of adults have not yet entered their sphere. (Where is the source of this information?) There is nothing in them to prevent them from the kingdom of heaven. THIS comment is false in it's entirety. We are born into sin, thanks to Adam. It is the sin that keeps us out of Heaven. > Baptising them conforms to the principle of "Free Salvation" which is believed in and strongly propagated by our Protestant brethren. (5) If we were utterly strict on the condition of belief, we would have forbidden from baptism many adults who were not mentally mature to comprehend the facts and depths of belief, such as the peasants, labourers, illiterates, the poorly educated and those of too limited understanding to get into the depth of the theological facts. May we ask: What would be the extent of those people's belief? Should we prevent them from being baptised, as little children should be? What he is arguing is "do we as humans have the ability to understand our salvation and accept it?" I would agree that NO, we don't, but it is not of ourselves that we get saved, but a gift of the holy spirit. If we have the ability to choose, or not to choose, then it is a works based salvation, and not a gift. (Eph. 2:8) The Holy Spirit comes in, opens our eyes, and THEN we accept. So no, these people, whether they are educated or not, DO NOT have the ability to accept or reject the salvation of Christ. READ John 7. > (6) Some ask: What happens if the little child refuses the faith when he grows up? He will be considered an apostate. He may refuse the grace he received in baptism by his own free will. THIS ALWAYS confuses me by the term FREE WILL. Where in the Bible does it say that we have a free will to reject or accept Christ? My question to you is, DID PAUL HAVE A CHOICE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT CHRIST? Better yet, did Pharoh in Romans 9 have a choice in hardening his heart towards God? WHO hardened Pharohs heart? Pharoh, or God. Make sure you read it carefully! > We had done our 34 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- duty towards him and the matter is left to him. He will be like a person who, after having begun in the Spirit, is now trying to be made perfect by the flesh (Gal.3: 3). Probably the little children who are baptised and live in the Church, tasting all the means of Grace therein, are less liable to perversion than those who are left without baptism until they grow up ( A very MAN centered salvation, leaving nothing up to the guiding and leading of the Holy Spirit. Again, Catholic in thought and practice!) > (7) Those who deny paedobaptism are in fact denying the necessity of baptism for salvation (Mark. 16:16); because if they believe in the necessity of baptism for salvation, it would be a serious matter to deprive little children of salvation. Since our Protestants brethren hold that belief is a condition for salvation and that little children have no belief, what then, from their point of view, is the destiny of little children who are unbaptised and have no belief? Will they be saved without belief and baptism? The question remains unanswered. > > This does not remain unanswered! If someone accepts Christ on his death bed 1 minute before he dies, will Christ say to that man, "Ummmm, sorry Jo Blow, you did accept me and invite me into your heart and you were in fact born again, BUT, you ran out of time and weren't baptised. Sorry, depart from me, you are cursed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. ALSO, think back to the thief on the cross. He simply said, "Jesus, Remember me". What did Jesus say? "wellllllllllll, sorry there fella, we can't get off these crosses here and baptise you so I guess you are out of luck! Off to Hell you go!" No, he said "today you will be in Paradise with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" That is the true meaning of salvation. A belief in Jesus. AMEN!!! > > > (8) We baptise little children because the Holy Bible indicates this. The Holy Bible mentions baptisms of whole families or of a person with his entire household, and there is no doubt that there must have been children in those families. The following are a few of numerous examples: (a) The baptism of the jailer at Philippi: St. Paul and St. Silas said to him: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16: 31). This means that the jailer's belief would be the first step which would lead his household to salvation. That is why it is said after that: "Then 35 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house" and then "immediately he and all his family were baptised" (Acts 16:32,33). The Holy Bible did not exempt little children from the household of the jailer at Philippi but said about their baptisms: "...he and all his family", of course including little children. (b) In the event of baptising Lydia, the dealer of purple cloth, it is written: "And when she and her household were baptised" (Acts 16: 15). (c) St. Paul the Apostle said: "Yes, I also baptised the household of Stephanas" (1Cor.1: 16). Could all these households have been without little children? (d) The Holy Bible does not mention that there were no little children among those who were baptised on the Day of Pentecost. Very speculative, but in order to go along with this theology, you must speculate, because it doesn't say in the Bible......anywhere........ that they did baptise little babies. Here, we get into Church tradition, rather than Biblical fact. > (9) Paedobaptism was practised in history. (AGAIN, church tradition) Here we remember the disagreement between St. Augustine and St. Jerome on the origin of the soul: whether is it born or created?. St. Augustine said that it is born with man and St. Jerome said that it is created. St. Augustine asked: "If it is created, it does not inherit Adam's sin. Why then do we baptise infants?" St. Jerome could not reply to this question. (10) There is not a single verse in the Holy Bible that forbids (OR PROMOTES) paedobaptism. 36 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (11) With regard to belief, we baptise little children on the belief of their parents which in essence has many examples in the Holy Bible: (a) Circumcision in the Old Testament symbolised baptism as we have previously explained. The circumcised was considered a member of God's people according to the covenant between God and Abraham (Gen.17: 11). It is known that circumcision was to be done on the eighth day after birth, according to God's command (Gen.17: 12). What understanding did the eight-day old baby boy have regarding the covenant between God and Abraham? To what extent was he aware of this membership in God's people? Undoubtedly, he had nothing of the sort, but he was circumcised on his parents' belief in such a covenant; he became a member of God's people and was entitled to the promises which God endowed upon our father Abraham. The baby attained all these through the belief of his parents. Good point, but it actually wrecks this fellas arguement dramatically! Could a guy enter Heaven without being circumcised? ABSOLUTELY! If not, then NO ONE before Abraham had a chance to go! The argument has fell apart. > (b) The crossing of the Red Sea was a symbol of baptism or a baptism itself as St. Paul the Apostle explained in (1Cor.10: 2). It represented salvation from the slavery of death, Satan and sin. Adults who were aware of God's promise to the Prophet Mosses crossed the Red Sea; they knew that they were slaves to Pharaoh; they knew the meaning of salvation from slavery by the Mighty Hand of God and when they crossed the Red Sea (baptism), they were saved. What was the position of the little children who were carried by their mothers and fathers across the Sea? Of course they received salvation from slavery; they were baptised, not on their own faith but on the faith of their parents because those children were not aware of any of the occurring events. (c) Another important and very strong example is the 37 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- salvation of the little children, through the blood of the Passover lamb, from the hand of the Angel who killed every firstborn son. The Lord comm